The Deir Yassin Remembered Blog

Report on Beth Israel vigil 01-20-18

Posted on January 22nd, 2018 at 10:54 am by

WfP Pitches a Shutout Four Weeks in a Row

As southeastern Michigan temperatures plunged into the low single-digits, Witness for Peace members have bundled up – as we have done for the past fifteen winters – only to observe the opposition throwing in the towel on these bitterly cold mornings. They have been no-shows for the last four weeks in front of Beth Israel Congregation.

True Christian Charity

We observed the true spirit of Christmas on Dec 23rd. Anne Cherney, our first counter protestor, brought a tin of Christmas cookies for each vigiler and made a special effort to include sugar-free cookies for Vigiler R, who battles adult-onset diabetes. Unlike her Jewish counter-protesting partners (as we detailed in our vigil report of October 7), she embraces her “enemies”, and treats them with kindness. Anne is currently battling health issues of her own and we wish her a full recovery.

Has Palestine Fallen Through the Cracks?

The Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice continues to ignore Palestinians. This purported peace group posts events and accomplishments from time to time, and the last email we received from them contains 18 items (list follows signature), but none of them deal with Palestine … or Israel … or the legitimacy of a Jewish state … or Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions … or Jewish Power. In fact, it appears the entire raison d’etre of ICPJ remains to protect Jewish Power. We former members of the then-very-active Middle East Task Force were summarily dismissed following our unanimous decision in 2006 to support BDS. To refresh our memories of the battle between ICPJ and its own METF, see Setting the Record Straight.

No Surprise

Had we done our homework on ICPJ, we might never have been duped into thinking it was a peace and justice organization when it comes to Palestine. Our top researcher combed the files at the Bentley Historical Museum and came up with the smoking gun: A letter from the “Interfaith Council for Peace”, circa 1975, which condemned UN Resolution 3379, the one that determined Zionism to be a form of racism. The letter is viewable here, and contains in part:

We must respond to the United Nation General Assembly action of passing a resolution designating “Zionism as a form of racism.” We find this resolution to be offensive, and in our view, it will contribute significantly to the maintenance of tension and the threat of war in the Middle East

Witness for Peace at City Council

This writer spoke on the topic “Holocaust Education” to the Ann Arbor City Council at their meeting on Tuesday, January 16. Concerned that the public remain unaware of the plight of two revisionists: Alison Chabloz and Monika Schaefer, Council was duly informed. Some new friends have uploaded the video to YouTube. Click here to view.

 

This report is dedicated to the memory of our wonderful friend and vigiler, Marcia Federbush, whose life will be celebrated on Sunday, January 28, 2:00 pm (service @ 3:00) at Nie Funeral Home, 2400 Carpenter Road, Ann Arbor. All are welcome.

Comments?

Witness for Peace
America First Not Israel
Henry Herskovitz
Dec. 30 6 vigilers
Jan. 6 5 vigilers
Jan. 13 4 vigilers
Jan. 20 5 vigilers
#

Talk to Ann Arbor City Council January 16, 2018

Good evening,

I bring to Council’s attention the names of two women, whose stories do not appear in the Ann Arbor News, the New York Times or the Washington Post. They are Alison Chabloz and Monika Schaefer. Alison hails from Great Britain, and Monika is a Canadian citizen. They are united in the fact that both are musicians and both sing satirical verses challenging the truthfulness of Holocaust narratives. Their followings are small, but vociferous and engaged.

Monika Schaefer lives in Jasper, Alberta, and was attending the trial of lawyer Sylvia Stolz in Germany. Stolz is on trial for what the German government falsely labels “Holocaust denial”. During a recess, Monika was apprehended by German authorities and has been held in administrative detention since January 10. The Jewish advocacy group, B’Nai Brith Canada, had filed complaints against Monika with the German government, and appears to be taking credit for her detention there.

Alison Chabloz lives in Derbyshire County, England, and according to the UK Daily mail is accused of calling the gas chambers a ‘hoax’ and has been taken to court “…in what is believed to be the first private prosecution in the UK for anti-Jewish racism.” The private party refers to the Committee Against Anti-Semitism.

Ms. Chabloz hopes to turn the tables: She writes, ” Following previous treatment of me by Derbyshire Constabulary, including six arrests, unwarranted detention and seizure of my property [they are] seemingly … reluctant to carry out any proper investigation into harassment of which I am the victim”.

In regards to knowledge about the Holocaust, Americas appear to lag well behind other western nations. We are not informed about Alison or Monika, nor were we told much during Ernst Zundel’s two trials in Toronto during the 1980’s. We can only speculate as to the reasons for this apparent blackout, but with Council’s permission, I’d like to paraphrase Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller :

First, they came for America’s white nationalists, and I did not speak out – Because I was not a white nationalist.

Then they came for the anti-Israel activists, and I did not speak out – Because I supported Jewish Supremacism in Palestine.

Then they came for they came for the Revisionists, and I did not speak out – Because I was ignorant of Revisionism.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Thank you

Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice list of activities.
For an expanded list of these summarized events, click here.

— ICPJ Update – January 12, 2018

  1. Chelsea Housing Diversity Forum – 1/13
  2. REJ Film Series: Great White Hoax – 1/14
  3. ICPJ Coffee Chats – 1/12 (Every Friday!)
  4. Women’s March Bus to Lansing – 1/21
  5. REJ Book Group: Tears We Cannot Stop – 1/23
  6. Time to Care Campaign Film Viewing – 1/30
  7. Sultan and the Saint Film Viewing – 1/31
  8. BIT – Ann Arbor Vineyard – 2/3
  9. ICPJ Monthly Orientations – 2/5 & 2/7
  10. Peace Team Training – 2/10
  11. LATF Dinner & a Movie: Nogales – 2/13
  12. Connect & Act – Save the Date! – 3/10
  13. Stop Spencer Town Hall – 1/13

14. IRT Faces of Faith 2018 – 1/14

MLK Day Community Events 1/15
15. UM MLK Day Symposium events – All Day
16. EMU MLK Day Celebration events – Fri/Sat/Sun
17. Chelsea March and a Movie – 5:15 PM
18. “Me, the Other” Film Premiere, MI Theater- 7 PM

Report on Beth Israel vigil 12-23-17

Posted on December 26th, 2017 at 8:30 pm by

DYR Ad Appears

The Sun Times News, a weekly print newspaper serving a half dozen communities just west of Ann Arbor, ran our ad in their Dec. 6th edition. The 5 by 5 spot ran on page 6.

 

 

http://www-personal.umich.edu/~hersko/PDF%20Files/America%20First%205%205×5%2025%2011-29-17.pdf

A Friend Indeed

Personal friend and Executive Director of Deir Yassin Remembered Dan Mcgowan read our report “Say it ain’t so, Ali!” last month, and took it upon himself to send Mr. Ramlawi the following letter (readers can access the printed copy here):

November 20, 2017

Ali Ramlawi
c/o Jerusalem Garden
314 E. Liberty St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

That you would betray the friendship of Henry Herskovitz and publicly call him a “hater,” speaks volumes of why Palestinians remain occupied in their own land. You don’t owe the people of Ann Arbor an apology for including Henry as a supporter; you owe Henry an apology for throwing him under the bus.

Your obsequiousness reminds me of the former Prime Minister Abu Alaa, who opposed the goal of Deir Yasin Remembered to build a memorial at Deir Yassin, in sight of Yad Vashem, to the Palestinian victims massacred on April 9, 1948. His opposition to DYR arose from the deal he had made with Israel to not ask for anything behind the Green Line in exchange for Israel’s buying his cement. He told me this personally in Arafat’s home in 1996 and he threatened me if I did not comply. Like Judas, he was willing to sell his soul for a few pieces of silver.

Henry Herskovitz is one of the most compassionate, principled people you will ever meet. He has selflessly dedicated his life to the struggle for justice for Palestinian people.

And you betrayed him.

Sincerely,
Daniel McGowan

Thanks, Dan. Good friends like you are a true find.

Comments?

Henry Herskovitz

Witness for Peace
America First Not Israel

Dec. 9 – Seven vigilers
Dec. 16 – Seven vigilers
Dec. 23 – Seven vigilers

On Trump’s Announcement on Jerusalem

Posted on December 17th, 2017 at 11:10 pm by

DYR Advisor Rich Siegel has a new op-ed on President Trump’s recent decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. You can read it on the RighteousJews.org or on Rich’s Facebook page.

Report on Beth Israel vigil 12-02-17

Posted on December 6th, 2017 at 9:45 am by

Definition of a “Free Press”

Remember the days of poking fun at Pravda, the Russian government-owned press? We asked: how could anyone rely on the truthfulness of reports that were filtered by agenda-driven government agents? Aren’t we Americans lucky to live in a land where our news isn’t filtered, where we – unlike our Russian counterparts – enjoy a “free” press?

We have witnessed how Jewish Power persuaded at least a half dozen billboard companies to refuse our attempts to run billboards with the simple message: America First Not Israel (latest example here). Careful readers will remember how an Ann Arbor Jew convinced publisher Patricia Garcia to refuse our ad request in the Ann Arbor Observer last year.

Pressing on, WfP initiated contact with the local MLive Media Group, publisher of a resurrected Ann Arbor News, to run a display ad with the text:

America First Not Israel
Paid for by Deir Yassin Remembered
Saturday Protests 9:30-10:45 AM at 2000 Washtenaw Ave
Ann Arbor
All Welcome (vigilannarbor@hotmail.com for more info)

After MLive received the desired text, and after we received the print ad specs and discount page, marketing executive Hannah Gellis then inquired: “Thanks, Henry. After looking at the discount sheet, how many ads are you interested in running? ”

We responded “We are looking at placing six ads, two per month if the marketing program allows. Sunday editions Eighth-page ads (6 @ $240/ad = $1440). We would then be looking at two ads in December, two in January and two in February.”

She then asked for “Name of advertiser’s business/group funding these ads (I see on the billboard creative that it states ‘paid for by Deir Yassin Remembered,’ but please confirm) Advertiser’s billing address”

We confirmed Deir Yassin Remembered and provided MLive Media Group with my local address for billing purposes. Five hours later, however, Hannah dropped the ax:

Henry,
MLive has sole discretion to reject any ad, and after review, we will not be accepting this ad placement.
I’m sorry I could not assist you in your marketing needs. Please let me know if you need anything else.
Best wishes,
Hannah Gellis |MLive Media Group
Marketing Executive

We asked MLive how and by whom this decision was made? “Were there reasons given for the ad’s rejection? Could Mlive suggest another wording that would pass muster?”

Hannah’s terse response: “We won’t be answering these questions. It’s in MLive’s discretion to reject ads, and we do from time to time. Thank you for your inquiry…”

Seems like this is deja vu all over again, and we report these events not because we’re complaining, but to document evidence of Jewish Power and its corrosive impact on speech. Former Vigiler A used to comment that the only media that WfP “owns” are the public streets outside Zionist Beth Israel Congregation. It is events like MLive’s rejection of our paid advertisement that help glue our feet ever more strongly to Washtenaw and Austin Avenues.

Please consider joining us next and every Saturday …

America’s Funniest Videos comes to the Vigil

Please take a minute and view the – hilarious in our view – video of a man screaming obscenities at us vigilers. Not really surprising, since we do receive a few epithets thrown our way from time to time, but WATCH as he lambastes a COUNTER protester and screams at her: “I hope you burn in Hell!”. When Anne asks him to actually read her sign, he falls over himself with apologies. I come over and say to Anne: “He was a bit of a potty-mouth, wasn’t he?” and she replies: “Yeah, and he doesn’t know how to read, either!”

Comments?

America First Not Israel
Henry Herskovitz
Nov. 25 – Six vigilers
Dec. 2 – Six vigilers

Report on Beth Israel vigil 11-11-17

Posted on November 18th, 2017 at 8:18 am by

Say it ain’t so, Ali!

97 years after the words “Say it ain’t so, Joe!” were allegedly delivered to Shoeless Joe Jackson by a heartbroken young boy, believing that his sports hero took a bribe to throw the 1920 World Series to the Cincinnati Reds, we are likewise heartbroken to learn that our own Palestinian hero, restaurant owner Ali Ramlawi, succumbed to Jewish Power right here in Ann Arbor.

It’s difficult in this town to unseat an incumbent City Council member, but the popular Ali was going to give it shot, and he believed he had enough support to get the job done. He even enjoyed the kosherization of his campaign by a 1960’s-era Jewish former-SDS member: “He doesn’t come from the political class of know-it-all consultants, realtors, lawyers, and non-profiteers. Some diversity of eyes, ears and voice would help the Council.”

Enter Jewish Power

Good to go, right? Well, not so fast! cried a local ultra-Zionist Jew: Neal Elyakin (check his Zionist credentials here) weighed in, and really put the screws to Ali. Via email, Elyakin raised the phrase “Guilt by Association” to new heights. After finding my name on Ali’s “Endorsements and Supporters” list, he wrote to his followers:

” Henry is a virulent hater … he hates Jews and he hates the State of Israel. He advocates for the destruction of the State of Israel; standing in front of a house of worship on the holy day of prayer calling for the end to Israel. On his website, Ali includes another hater, Shadia [Shadia is a pseudonym substituted here and below – ed.], who has stood with Henry outside Beth Israel Congregation, holding signs calling for an end to Israel.”

Elyakin continues to hammer Ali: “If you believe as I do, that aligning oneself to a candidate that has as his supporters people like Henry and Shadia, please let your neighbors and friends know that Ali cannot represent people who believe in peace and human decency, and the great fear that someone like this would bring this extreme hate into local Ann Arbor politics.”

Would Ali stand up to this challenge? Would he state that Henry has been his friend since our synagogue vigils began (14 years ago)? Would he tell Elyakin that during that time our political perspective on the ethnic cleansing of Ali’s own Palestine have been completely in sync?

The Demands

Hang on, it gets worse. In a second email, Elyakin reports that Ramlawi actually knocked on his door, to apologize “… for not being more careful about vetting who gets onto his website as a supporter”. Elyakin flies the Israeli flag in front of his home, and we wonder how it would feel to be Palestinian entering a clearly Zionist home? Elyakin writes about that meeting:

“He told me that he did not count Henry or Shadia as supporters. He apologized for not being more careful about vetting who gets onto his website as a supporter. He told me he knows and abhors the message that Henry voices, the hate that Henry and his supporters spout. He told me that he removed Henry’s name as soon as he learned that Henry’s name was on the list. He agreed to put out a statement denouncing the hate that Henry speaks, denouncing the message that Henry advocates. He also agreed with me that Henry’s hate has no place in a civilized world, and certainly does not speak for him.”

The Results

Would Ali actually comply with this demand?

We waited for the day of the election to get our answer. Regrettably, Ali actually complied with BOTH demands: he removed the names of myself and Shadia from his list of supporters (see before and after) AND he issued the following statement (the link in his statement refers to the newspaper article on the baseless charges of “hate” from the SPLC:

Statement from Ali Ramlawi
November 6 2017

During my campaign, there was an unfortunate oversight that led some in our community to believe that I agree with individuals and groups who hold fanatical, hateful and divisive viewpoints.

Nothing could be farther from the truth of the deeply held values that I have always lived by and stood for. I do not align myself and denounce members of our community who represent hateful and divisive ideologies and I do not count them among my supporters. MLive June 7, 2017.

I take full responsibility for this oversight and appreciate everyone’s understanding.

Well, sadly there it is. What appears to be a complete capitulation to Jewish Power wielded by Elyakin. Holding folks in the highest possible regard, I crafted a letter (below) to Ali, asking for his side of the story, and hand-delivered it to him over a week ago. I have heard nothing.

Oh, and did we forget to mention that in spite of paying Elyakin’s “ranson”, Ali lost the election anyway? Maybe the lesson is “Never pay Ransom”; it’s never worth it.

Comments?

Henry Herskovitz
Witness for Peace
Three vigilers
#

November 9, 2017
Dear Ali,

I’m writing this to you as a friend. I want to get your side of the story.

When I learned you were running for City Council, I was excited for you and requested a yard sign immediately. The sign stayed in our front yard from that day until the election.

I believe that request got my name placed on your list of supporters. I was, and am, a supporter of you.
But something happened. Sometime between November 3 and November 7, my name, and the name of my dear friend Shadia, was removed from the supporters list.

In addition, a tersely worded disclaimer was issued by you ” …denounc[ing] members of our community who represent hateful and divisive ideologies …”. The link provided takes readers to photos of myself and a June article at Mlive.com.

I’m in receipt of emails from a pro-Israel individual named Neal Elyakin, who circulated on email what can only be described as an ad hominem attack upon me and Shadia in an effort to smear you as someone who associates with me: ” Henry is a virulent hater … he hates Jews and he hates the State of Israel. He advocates for the destruction of the State of Israel; standing in front of a house of worship on the holy day of prayer calling for the end to Israel. On his website, Ali includes another hater, Shadia, who has stood with Henry outside Beth Israel Congregation, holding signs calling for an end to Israel. ”

Elyakin then writes in a different email that you visited him at his home, where he claims you agreed to his positions in regards to me and Shadia, and that you also agreed ” … to put out a statement denouncing the hate that Henry speaks, denouncing the message that Henry advocates”

Ali, you and I have been friends since I started advocating for Palestine’s liberation. During that time, we enjoyed many private conversations sharing our agreements on this issue. I would classify our relationship as warm and mutual. I would bet my last dollar that you would have agreed.

Before I generate some conclusions about the events of this past week, I would sincerely like to sit down with you to get your side of this story, as stated in my opening line.

Please contact me soon. And thanking you in advance I remain

Your friend,

Henry Herskovitz

 

Report on Beth Israel vigil 11-04-17

Posted on November 7th, 2017 at 11:41 am by

Was Raul Hilberg a Holocaust Denier?

The Destruction of the European Jews (Student One Volume Edition) is lauded by Michael Marrus of The Times Literary Supplement: “In its originality, scope and seriousness of theme, this is one of the great historical works of our time”. David S. Wyman, writing for the New York Times Book Review, writes “The standard text in its field … by the pre-eminent scholar of the Holocaust”

Pretty heavy accolades for book and author Raul Hilberg, yes? So imagine our shock to read on page 263, “The Germans killed five million Jews.” [NB: we have long understood that Hilberg’s estimation was 5.1 million, but have not seen this in sentence form that states the number so directly.] We reproduce this page for our readers:

 

 

Didn’t Hilberg get the memo? The world is reminded again and again that it was SIX million Jews who were killed by the Germans. Here’s a standing reminder on the University of Michigan campus for all the world to see; did Hilberg not visit Ann Arbor to get his facts straight?

 

Let’s go out on a limb here, and provide a personal definition of “Holocaust”. Once defined (an assignment suggested to this writer by the late Ernst Zundel) we can determine whether Prof. Hilberg falls into the Holocaust “affirming” camp or the “denying” camp:

The “Holocaust” is the specific part of world history – years 1939 to 1945 – during which time the National Socialist (Nazi) government of Germany formulated and implemented a plan – originating with Adolf Hitler and top Nazi officials – to physically exterminate the Jews of Europe. They accomplished this task in a mechanical, assembly-line process, by transporting Jewish and other groups, to “death camps” specifically equipped with homicidal gas chambers. These gas chambers employed hydrogen cyanide gas (marketed by IG Farben as “Zyklon B”) as the killing agent, and were specifically built for the purpose of following the extermination order. By “Death Camps”, we refer to historian Raul Hilberg’s definition “as a facility the primary purpose of which is conveying people to their deaths.” No less than six million Jews died under this extermination program by the Nazis during this time period.

By this definition, we conclude that Professor Hilberg was indeed a Holocaust “Denier”. And, by implication, we find ourselves – members of sister group Deir Yassin Remembered, that is – in pretty lofty company. We recognize that our definition is just one of many possibilities, and we welcome any other definition that may compete with ours. For example, in his book Debating the Holocaust, Thomas Dalton writes: “There can be no denying the Holocaust of the mid-twentieth century; it was called World War II. Roughly 50 to 60 million people died worldwide – about 70 percent of whom were civilians.” For the record, this author – and we can presume Prof. Hilberg – affirm this definition.

Witness for Peace on the Air

This writer was interviewed on Truth Jihad Radio by Kevin Barrett October 27th. The one-hour interview can be found here. Kevin writes:

Henry Herskovitz of Deir Yassin Remembered offers a third opinion on the controversy. Henry hails from a Jewish background, but no longer considers himself a member of the tribe. Henry is well know[n] in Ann Arbor, Michigan for picketing [Kevin, we gotta talk] his local synagogue every Saturday in protest against the Palestinian genocide. Recently a local attorney, Jessica Lieberman, was convicted and sentenced for stealing one of Henry’s group’s protest signs. [we note that Lieberman plead guilty to Disturbing the Peace, not Larcency, as originally charged]

Dedication

This report is dedicated to the memory of our friend Ingrid Rimland Zundel (1936-2017)

Comments?
Henry Herskovitz
Witness for Peace
America First Not Israel
Oct. 28 – three vigilers
Nov. 4 – four vigilers

 

 

Report on Beth Israel vigil 10-21-17

Posted on October 25th, 2017 at 12:18 pm by

Lieberman Receives Probation, Fines

Jessica Lieberman was sentenced on Oct. 13 to three months probation, $425 in court costs, fines and probation fees, and is required to perform 24 hours of community service, in exchange for her guilty plea to the criminal charge of disturbing the peace. In addition, Judge Karen Valvo ordered her to have no contact with this writer, nor vigilers D and T, for the probationary period. Judge Valvo was very attentive during the reading of the Victim Impact Statement (repeated below signature); we hope her sentencing of Lieberman will provide a warning to future thieves and vandals.

Stephen King Falls Victim to the “Hate” Trap

“Hate” seems to be the slime tool of the day: Witness for Peace and Deir Yassin Remembered get labeled as “hate” groups by local Jews and the Southern Poverty Law Center, local signs like “Hate has no place here” have cropped up since the election of President Trump, and just today the Jewish Chronicle (U/K) labels our friend Gilad Atzmon “…a known peddler of hatred.”

And it seems we can always count on author Stephen King to ride these waves of Politically Correct speech. Having read his 2014 novel, Mr. Mercedes a few years back, we enjoyed recently watching the series on TV produced by AT&T. In the final episode the audience is taken to the hospital room of psychopathic killer Brady Hartsfield, who is lying clinically brain dead after being repeated clubbed in the head with an iron statue. Retired detective Bill Hodges – the hero and a patient in the same hospital – approaches Hartsfield, draws close and menacingly says:

“I know you’re in there. Because Hate hangs on, and Hate is all you had. They’ll bring you back someday. Sure as taxes and Christmas, though, I’ll be waiting. And I’ll finish it.”

But wait a minute. Though it’s been 4 years since I read the book, I did not remember such a final scene in the written word. A trip to the local library to pick up a copy confirmed this observation. In the book, Hartsfield remains unconscious, except for a typical Stephen King Carrie-like back-from-the-dead finish, in this case a nurse reports that after seventeen months in a coma, Hartfield awakens only enough to say “He has a headache. And he’s asking for his mother.”

Why the change? Hartsfield’s psychopathy stemmed from a mentally-unstable childhood, the accidental death of his young brother and the fact that he lived with – and had repeated sex with – his mother. “Hatred” was not a developed theme in either the book or TV series. Like George Bush’s “They hate us for our freedom”, the King-based series ascribes an unsupported reason for a person’s, or group’s, actions. The danger is that it popularizes and condones the usage of “hate” as a Hasbara*-inspired a tool to negatively label one’s opponents. For example, the local Jewish community leverages the popularity of this word and ascribes the groundless reason of “hate” to Witness for Peace’s weekly protest against racist Zionism and the corruption of US interests from the excesses of Jewish Power.

Fair Weather Counter-protester

Although it “never rains on the vigils”, last Saturday was the exception that proves the rule. Three vigilers, plus counter-protester Sue started the day, but after umbrellas were deployed, Sue couldn’t take the figurative “heat” and got out of the kitchen. She reposed to the synagogue’s porch for shelter for some time, then threw in the towel and entered her literal sanctuary. What’s she gonna do in February?

*- Hasbara Handbook: Promoting Israel on Campus https://www.middle-east-info.org/take/wujshasbara.pdf

Comments?
Henry Herskovitz
Witness for Peace
America First Not Israel
Oct. 14 – three vigilers
Oct. 21 – four vigilers
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VICTIM IMPACT STATEMENT
October 13, 2017

Sentencing Judge: KAREN VALVO
Date of Sentencing: Oct. 13, 2017
People of the State of Michigan v. JESSICA LIEBERMAN
Docket No: 17-0520-SM
Name of Victim: HENRY HERSKOVITZ

Pre-sentencing statement of Victim:

Honorable Ms. Valvo:

I thank the Court and the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office for allowing me to make this statement on behalf of myself and our political group, Witness for Peace.

I also wish to convey thanks to Assistant Prosecutor Lou Danner and Victim Right’s Advocate Lea Donoghue for taking the time to meet with me. The stated goal of that meeting was to improve relations between Witness for Peace and the Prosecutor’s office; I believe that goal was achieved and hope relations remain at the current level. We would like to underscore Mr. Danner’s observation that we are a peaceful gathering of citizens and that peace was disturbed by the actions of Ms. Lieberman.

The Victim Impact Statement form asks for a list of physical injuries suffered as a result of Ms. Lieberman’s crime, and also for property loss. Perhaps this is unusual for a victim statement, but in either case, neither myself nor members of Witness for Peace suffered injuries nor property loss. There was property damage, but no loss per se. There was no emotional trauma or injury sustained by myself nor members of the group.

But I would ask the Court to consider that we sustained harm in the sense that our First Amendment rights were under attack by the actions of the Defendant. Although Ms. Lieberman is not responsible for the following, I feel it is important that the Court understand our perspective on this issue of freedom of expression.

Our group has been spat upon, had cars run at us, protestors slapped, a camera shoved into the face of a protestor, signs stolen. We have been physically stalked by a specific individual. In all these cases, the Ann Arbor Police Department performed their duties in an excellent manner, preparing and delivering detailed reports. Until this case, there has been no trial or sentencing for any of the perpetrators of the above offenses.

I repeat that we do not hold Ms. Lieberman accountable for any of the above crimes. I have listed them only to show the duty I have to our group to vigilantly protect the short time we have each week to deliver our messages.

We are thankful for our Constitution’s First Amendment rights that protects our freedom to deliver these messages. I would suggest that the First Amendment is a right cherished by both citizens and the government itself. Certainly, it is cherished by myself and Witness for Peace. As we stand on the public sidewalks and lawn extensions every week, I am appreciative of this right.

As for our thoughts on sentencing the defendant:

It is our understanding that Ms. Lieberman is an attorney, and her plea of “no contest” to the crime of disturbing the peace will be reported by both Mr. Danner and Mr. Minock to the State of Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission. We also understand that these reports may be expunged after a successful completion of her probationary period. Our hope is that the Court determine an appropriate sentence that reflects our concern that crimes like the ones committed by Ms. Lieberman and others not be repeated. Since we suffered no real financial loss, nor expect or deserve financial gain from her crime, we therefore leave it in the Court’s hands to determine a proper sentence.

Again, thank you for allowing me to make this statement on behalf of myself and Witness for Peace.

Henry Herskovitz
Ann Arbor, MI 48103
#

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